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Old 10-08-2012, 06:47 PM  
siberian khatru siberian khatru is offline
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Mellinger: Chiefs find themselves at odds with their fans

http://www.kansascity.com/2012/10/08...s-at-odds.html

Chiefs find themselves at odds with their fans


By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star


No human being should ever cheer another human being’s pain, especially a head injury, so let’s just make that clear right here at the top.

In that specific way, the anger of Chiefs offensive lineman Eric Winston is well placed.

In virtually every other way, Winston is dead wrong on important details, empty on context, and misguided about where Chiefs fans are coming from.

The downside is that many people now wrongly believe that 70,000 people cheered Matt Cassel’s concussion on Sunday, and if general manager Scott Pioli is fired he will almost certainly one day use this to slam Kansas City fans to the national media — “off the record,” of course.

But the good part is that our city’s worst-kept secret is no longer kept, and the men in charge of the Chiefs can no longer ignore it or pretend that a win at Tampa Bay this weekend will fix the broken foundation that I’ve been writing about for weeks.

Chiefs fans actively dislike this team. Now, it appears the feeling is mutual.

And this problem dwarfs a 1-4 start to what looks like another lost season.

• • •

Winston is wrong about key specifics. When Cassel got sandwiched between two Baltimore Ravens, there were not 70,000 people present at Arrowhead Stadium.

Winston clarified that point on Twitter Sunday night, and then on Monday during a short sit-down with reporters, but he further mangled another important fact by insisting that backup Brady Quinn didn’t come onto the field until Cassel was off. That’s just not true.

Winston says he’s received “overwhelming support” about his tirade from teammates and friends, but that’s no more relevant than a fan getting high-fived for heckling from the stands.

I heard two cheers. The first came with Cassel still on the ground, when Quinn — popular way beyond his own merits by virtue of Cassel’s 13 turnovers in five games — walked onto the field. This cheer was joyous. And at least to my ears, that was about Quinn coming on more than Cassel being hurt.

The second cheer came when Cassel rose to his feet, the kind of polite applause you usually hear when an injured player gets up.

That’s what I heard, anyway, even as I understand that some idiots in the stands did directly cheer Cassel’s injury. One person cheering a head injury is one too many, and there was more than one. On that point, all rational human beings agree with Winston.

But even ignoring the hypocrisy of a league that’s made billions by desensitizing fans to violence now demanding that those fans hold their applause until every player gets up, this whole discussion is bit like arguing which beer turned a driver drunk.

In other words, Kansas City fans have been over the legal limit of disgust about their professional teams for quite some time.

While the rest of the country comes to the realization that Kansas City is not the sports world’s Mayberry — we can boo here, too, you know — it would be a shame if the Chiefs didn’t use this opportunity to fix problems much bigger than four losses, 19 turnovers, and an underwhelming quarterback situation.

The Chiefs should be the most popular show in town, right up there with barbecue and affordable houses in great neighborhoods.

Instead, the men in charge are screwing it up.

• • •

The Chiefs need to be more accessible. That’s the first thing. Kansas Citians are generally warm people, except when they feel ignored.

Ewing Kauffman wore his blue blazer and waved from his suite during the seventh-inning stretch. Lamar Hunt made pregame rounds in a golf cart. That stuff matters here, almost certainly more than in most other places. Maybe more than it should.

Winston doesn’t understand this, and that’s not his fault. Acquired as a free agent several months ago, he has been here for all of five games. What he heard on Sunday was not a celebration of a man’s head injury as much as it was the hopeful end to a quarterback situation that had grown so ridiculous that the coach devised entire game plans around it while refusing to make a change.

The narrative has been exaggerated in some ways, but right or wrong, the Chiefs have in Clark Hunt an owner who is perceived to be detached and in Scott Pioli a general manager who is perceived to be arrogant. Kansas City fans have made the Chiefs one of the best-supported franchises in the NFL, but people here won’t stand for detachment or arrogance. Ask Royals owner David Glass.

The Chiefs are active in local charities, and in May they gave each season-ticket holder a customizable jersey in an attempt to connect with fans. Those are good things, but it’s important to recognize that these good things are buried under a growing sense that the franchise cares more about profit margin than wins.

Cassel became the most visible symbol of this frustration — 19 years without a playoff win, tightened tailgating restrictions, a growing loyalty to the bottom line over goodwill — and that’s not fair. He is a terrific backup quarterback being presented as a good starting quarterback, and so he receives more personal criticism than he should. In that way, the same organization that’s made Cassel wealthy has also let him down.

This is all out there for everyone to see now. Nationally, people now think of the Chiefs as the team so bad that their fans cheer injuries. Here in Kansas City, we know that there are a million fallacies in that, but if that’s where it stop, then we’ve all missed a critical opportunity.

Fans need to be better than to cheer an injury. The organization they pour money and passion into needs to be better than to let this much frustration build.

Some of this can be solved with a few wins. But the Chiefs are delusional if they don’t see that there are bigger issues that need to be addressed.

To reach Sam Mellinger, call 816-234-4365, send e-mail to smellinger@kcstar.com or follow him at Twitter.com/mellinger. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:01 PM   #2
siberian khatru siberian khatru is offline
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Sam keeping up with the "Chiefs are out of touch with their fans" beat. And he's right.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:09 PM   #3
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Star is damn near making me proud this past few weeks. Kent and Sam have done a hell of a job. Too bad Sam is left to carry the torch by himself, but he is doing a bang up job! Keep it up Sam!
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:12 PM   #4
BryanBusby BryanBusby is offline
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In the mean time, Adam Teicher continues to run his tongue up and down the buttcrack of Scott Pioli and the Chiefs.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:38 PM   #5
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In the mean time, Adam Teicher continues to run his tongue up and down the buttcrack of Scott Pioli and the Chiefs.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:43 PM   #6
Count Zarth Count Zarth is offline
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:44 PM   #7
DaFace DaFace is offline
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Star is damn near making me proud this past few weeks. Kent and Sam have done a hell of a job. Too bad Sam is left to carry the torch by himself, but he is doing a bang up job! Keep it up Sam!
It's pretty clear that some editor finally gave them the go-ahead to fire at will, and now all the stuff they've been holding in for the past three years is coming out.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:00 PM   #8
Count Zarth Count Zarth is offline
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Cassel became the most visible symbol of this frustration — 19 years without a playoff win, tightened tailgating restrictions, a growing loyalty to the bottom line over goodwill — and that’s not fair. He is a terrific backup quarterback being presented as a good starting quarterback, and so he receives more personal criticism than he should.
Bull ****ing shit.

He got paid 63 goddamn million.

He can eat a little shit.

And he can have a second helping.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:02 PM   #9
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Bull ****ing shit.

He got paid 63 goddamn million.

He can eat a little shit.
yep.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:04 PM   #10
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Keep bringin', it Sam.

It's much appreciated though long overdue.

**** Pioli.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:11 PM   #11
Marcellus Marcellus is offline
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I don't see any way Cassel survives beyond this year in KC it would be beyond comprehension. We are getting close to being Cassel free!
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:21 PM   #12
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I don't see any way Cassel survives beyond this year in KC it would be beyond comprehension. We are getting close to being Cassel free!
Any sane person would have also thought it incomprehensible for Cassel to still being in Sunday's game after 2 picks and an atrocious fumble, so...
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:28 PM   #13
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I don't see any way Cassel survives beyond this year in KC it would be beyond comprehension. We are getting close to being Cassel free!
That's not really the point. The point is who will replace him? Someone good? Or do we end up with some retread like we have for the past 20 years?

If Pioli is not canned, he's only got one more year on his deal. Does he go for a rookie, or a retread?
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:30 PM   #14
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If Pioli is not canned, he's only got one more year on his deal. Does he go for a rookie, or a retread?
If he can convince the owner to keep him, a rookie will buy him at least a couple years.

But why would anybody trust him to make that decision?
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:31 PM   #15
Marcellus Marcellus is offline
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That's not really the point. The point is who will replace him? Someone good? Or do we end up with some retread like we have for the past 20 years?

If Pioli is not canned, he's only got one more year on his deal. Does he go for a rookie, or a retread?
Even Pioli's dumb ass knows he has to get the next one right or he is done anywhere as a GM. He will make a good pick at least in a logical "popular" way. (see Eric Berry for example).

That may not be the best thing though because it may keep him around for another 5 or 10 years. Then again if he gets the right QB he almost couldn't **** it up.
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